On the evening of Wednesday, April 25, the UTFA Negotiating Team for Salary, Benefits, Pensions and Workload reached agreement on a tentative two-year settlement, covering the period July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2020. This agreement is subject to ratification by UTFA Council and by the Administration.
You will recall that in June we agreed on a one-year settlement conditional on the Administration’s agreement that we have a subsequent agreement covering the next two years in place prior to July 1, 2018. Your negotiating team returned to the bargaining table in the early fall to resume negotiations for this agreement and vigorously pursued both an increase in salary and an increase in benefits, as well as improvements to the workload policy (WLPP), the PTR process, and the salary anomaly process. Here is a summary of the settlement. A more detailed bargaining report will follow at a later date.
Salary Increases (ATB)
The tentative agreement provides for an increase in salary in each of the next two years. In the first year of the agreement, effective July 1, 2018, members will receive a 1.9% across the board (ATB) increase in salary. In the second year, commencing July 1, 2019, members will receive a 2% ATB, distributed as a 1% increase to all salaries, together with an additional $1630 per full-time member (representing a 1% increase on average salary). The flat amount will be pro-rated for part-time members. This increase compares favourably with increases negotiated in the university sector in Ontario, including among peer institutions, and with other broader public-sector settlements.
For the first year of the agreement, the parties will use the PTR model used in 16/17 and 17/18. This means that the ATB on salaries above the reference point of $163,970 will be used to fund additional PTR.1
However, PTR awards in the second year of the agreement will revert to the normal process that had been in effect up to and including the July 1, 2015 agreement.
As usual, PTR breakpoints and increments will increase by the ATB amounts (1.9% for the 2019 PTR exercise and by 2.0% for the 2020 exercise).
Increase in Research and Study Days for Librarians
The agreement includes an increase in the number of days librarians can use for research and study, in accordance with existing practice. These days will increase from 10 to 12 effective July 1, 2018 and from 12 to 14 effective July 1, 2019.
The tentative agreement also provides increases to benefits, effective July 1, 2018, including the following:
- Gender affirmation leave to provide paid leave for members engaged in treatments and procedures related to gender affirmation.
- The top-up for Maternity/Parental/Adoption Leave for faculty and librarians has been increased from 95% to 97% for the following:
- for a birth parent, the 1 week EI waiting period, the 15 week EI pregnancy leave, and the 4 additional weeks EI parental leave;
- for an adoptive parent and primary caregiver, the 1 week EI waiting period and 19 week EI parental leave;
- for a non-birth parent, the 10 week EI parental leave (including the 1 week waiting period if applicable)
- The Psychology Benefit has been renamed the Psychologist and Mental Health Benefit, and is being increased from $2000 to $3000 per person per plan year, coupled with an expansion of service providers to include Registered Psychologists, MSW and Psychotherapists.
- 90% reimbursement for Continual Glucose Monitoring transmitters, sensors and receivers, subject to certain limits.
- The Paramedical Benefit will increase from a combined maximum of $950 to a combined maximum of $1250. As well, members will no longer be required to submit a doctor’s referral for registered massage treatment.
- The Audio Benefit (to cover reimbursement for hearing aids) will increase from $500/ear to $750/ear (every 3 years) effective July 1, 2018 and increase to $1000/ear (every 3 years) on July 1, 2019.
- An increase in the Vision Benefit from $400 every 24 months to $450 every 24 months.
- An increase in the Dental Benefit for major restorative services from $2500 to $2800 every 12 months.
- A removal of the Child Care Benefit age cap for children with documented disabilities, and an agreement that Administration will meet with UTFA to discuss streamlining the documentation process related to the Child Care Benefit reimbursement.
The negotiating team also secured an agreement with the Administration that complaints of part-time faculty and librarians under the Equal Pay for Equal Work provisions of the Employment Standards Act (Bill 148) will be determined by the Grievance Review Panel.
UTFA’s bargaining team resisted all proposals designed to freeze retiree benefits at the current levels and to reduce the value of other benefits. We also held steadfast in our commitment that any improvements to health benefits would apply to all of our members including retirees.
However, despite our persistent efforts, the Administration refused to agree to pension augmentation above the prescribed indexation of pensions at 75 percent of inflation.
UTFA also sought to secure a commitment from Administration to increase the staffing support for Senior College from 0.6 to 1.0 FTE. We are pleased to report that the Administration has agreed to fund the Senior Staff position at 1.0 FTE for the two years of the agreement. This is conditional on an ongoing review of Senior College staffing. However, even if that review indicates that less than 1.0 FTE is required to support Senior College (e.g. 0.6 or 0.8 FTE), the monetary difference between 1.0 FTE and the level of staff support indicated by the review will, until June 30, 2020, be provided to Senior College to be used for other supports.
Workload, PTR, and Salary Anomalies
There continue to be unresolved issues in relation to UTFA proposals to improve the Workload Policy (WLPP), the PTR Guidelines, and the Salary Anomaly process. The parties have agreed to continue to discuss those issues through facilitated and mediated discussions with William Kaplan, who will remain seized as arbitrator if the parties cannot reach agreement.
The settlement also includes an agreement to create a small group to review the Housing and Loan Program; confirmation of assistance with grant issues for members taking compassionate care leave; continuation of the 2015 process for increasing the pension plan maximum; extension of the 2015 working group on LTD; and increases to the minimum overload stipends to $17,544 from 18/19 and $17,895 for 19/20.
As well, negotiations over various policy issues—Policies for Librarians, the Policy on the Appointment of Part-time Faculty, a letter of understanding regarding the sexual violence policy, and improved privacy language—are ongoing. These negotiations over non-salary and non-benefits policy matters are now subject to the mediator/fact-finder process under the revised Memorandum of Agreement (for more information, see Article 6 of the modernized Memorandum of Agreement and this schematic explanation).
As noted above, UTFA Council will be asked to vote on ratification of this tentative agreement on May 15, 2018.
Finally, we would like to express our thanks for the excellent work of Heather Diggle, Counsel at UTFA. We also could not have achieved this agreement without the consistently excellent advice and support of Steven Barrett and Emma Phillips of Goldblatt Partners and Hugh Mackenzie of Mackenzie and Associates. We are fortunate to work with and learn from such talented people.
Kenneth Iain MacDonald
Vice-President, Salary, Benefits, Pensions & Workload
Associate Professor, Dept. of Human Geography, UTSC
Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Writing and Rhetoric Program, Innis College
Member, UTFA Council
Professor, Dept. of Biology, UTM
Member, UTFA Council
Professor, Dept. of Geography and Planning
Chair, Librarians Committee
Librarian, Outreach and Instructional Services Coordinator, Faculty of Information
Chair, Retired Members Committee
Associate Professor, Teaching Stream, Department of Leadership, Higher and Adult Education, OISE
1 Under the November 2015 settlement, the dollar value of the across-the-board percentage increase was capped at a fixed salary level, defined as the reference point. The difference between the fixed maximum ATB increase and the increase that would have been paid at the negotiated ATB percentage was rolled into the relevant PTR pool. That approach will be followed for 2019 PTR.